How To Tell If You’re In A Chivalric Romance By Chrétien de Troyes -The Toast

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chivalry2A disrespectful maiden becomes your only friend after you kill the man who kidnapped the other man who killed her first boyfriend.

Sir Kay is taunting you.

Your story has broken off, unfinished.

You successfully defend yourself against accusations of having slept with your lord’s wife. You have, but you find a way to protest your innocence without actually lying, so God helps you murder your completely justified accusers, most of whom are Cornish.

No one at court is impressed by the fact that you were considered a very parfait knight back in Wales.

You are polite to the point of idiocy; your brother is boorish to the point of brutality. Your nephew is emasculatingly thin, and probably a murderer.

Your father is from Troy, somehow.

You had a hunting accident in Ireland and now you can’t remember the name of your fiancée.

You can’t just fight someone once and be done with it, you have to lose them in a river or to an enchanted dwarf halfway through your first fight and then meet again a year later in Brittany to really finish things.

Someone you have just met is dying for absolutely no reason.

You have an incredible amount of homoerotic tension with a beautiful Saracen knight, who converted to the True Faith after your father bested him in single combat in the Crusades with an enchanted sword.

If you put a little dirt on your face and hands, or change your carnelian armor for vermilion armor, you will become completely unrecognizable to the people who have raised you and known you for years.

You, the Emperor of Rome, are for some reason a part of a medieval-style Marian cult.

Sir Kay has just been viciously beaten by a stranger for his impertinence, but somehow still manages to insult you from his sickbed.

You have murdered a magical dog for the crime of making you happy.

Your moment of impatience one Good Friday thirteen years ago is the dead weight preventing you from seeing the Holy Grail today.

If your name is just one word (like Iseult or Igraine or Lunete), you have a decent chance of finding love and/or happiness. If your name includes a modifier (like Elaine the Fair or Iseult of the White Hands), you will die miserably after tricking a man who does not love you into marrying you against his will.

Your mother was a fairy, or dead, or had a magic ring, or French, or a lion some of the time, or something.

You avenge your cousin’s humiliating defeat at the hands of an evil wizard, only to fall irreversibly in love with the evil wizard’s wife, whose name is Belocrane or Esclavarant or something equally ridiculous.

You love winning in battle, but you love even more being bested in battle; immediately upon losing, you embrace your opponent and kiss him gently, praising him to the skies and vowing eternal fidelity. You have a lot of friends.

You are also, somehow, renowned for your prowess in battle. You never bleed; the only time you did, the three drops of blood that fell from your wound arranged themselves in the shape of your wife’s face.

The porter is churlish.

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